Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Election 2023: Labour party feels the Blues

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

Christopher Luxon spoke to supporters after claiming victory. Photo: AP
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Gladys Hartson | Senior Journalist

While special votes are still to be counted, it appears the mood of the country is one for change. 

This has resulted in several of Labour’s Pasifika MPs losing their parliamentary jobs but at the same time, elevating several new faces into the political realm.

Among the new Pasifika faces are Green Candidate Fa’anana Efeso Collins, who becomes an MP on the strength of the Greens’ 10%+ party vote. At the same time, National list candidate Agnes Loheni gets back into parliament thanks to her list placing of 25. 

As for the losers, Takanini’s Labour candidate Anae Leavasa Neru lost his seat to his National opponent as did Teresia Ngobi in the Otaki electorate. Meanwhile, Anahila Kanongataha’s future as a list MP hangs in the balance.

Another fairy-tale story from election night involves Cook Island lawyer Angee Nicholas standing for National in the Te Atatu seat. She’ll make history for the National Party if she wins the seat from current Labour MP Phil Tywford. 

Considered a safe Labour seat, this would be a shock loss if National takes it. If successful, Nicholas would become the first Pacific woman to win an electorate seat for National. With 97% of the votes counted, Nicholas had a slim 80 vote lead.. 

The Green Party who have 10 percent of the party vote will potentially  welcome their second Pacific MP with former Auckland city councillor Fa’anana Efeso Collins coming into Parliament with the Greens with 14 MPs. He will join Teanau Tuiono. 

Labour will go back to the drawing board to reset and contemplate life in opposition with half of their 64 MPs set to exit parliament gaining just over 26 percent of the party vote.  

The Labour party boasted the largest number of Pacific MPs in government with 10. That number is set to drop with the loss of Anae Dr.Leavasa losing his electorate seat of Takanini by more than 6000 votes to National Party candidate Rima Nahkle. The electorate of Takanini was newly created in 2020 and Anae won by 4500 in his first campaign. 

MP for Otaki Terisa Ngobi is also another casualty of the night’s results losing her seat to National candidate Tim Costley by more than 3000 votes. Otaki is known to be a National stronghold. 

Set to return for Labour is Carmel Sepuloni in Kelston, Barbara Edmonds for Mana, Tangi Utikere in Palmerston North and Lemauga Lydia Sosene who won the Mangere electorate after Aupito William Sio retired earlier this year. 

Voter turnout was low compared to the general election in 2020 with 1,976,996 votes cast  compared to 1,376,366 this election and 1,240, 740 votes in 2017. This does not include special or overseas votes.

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